Saturday, August 1, 2015
The entire last month I've been helping our local lactation consultants, Kimberly and Jen of Encompass Lactation organize the Big Latch On in Iowa City.   
The Big Latch On basically is an annual event created to promote breastfeeding, by raising awareness of community knowledge and support. It is also a challenge with the purpose to gather up all the nursing and pumping mamas and have them "latch on" at exactly 10:30 then count them all with a goal to break prior records.
The Big Latch On was today and our location had a total of 30 babes breastfeeding during the "latch on."  I think that's a HUGE success, because last year (my first year participating in a Big Latch On & I was pumping) there were only 13, I think.  Organizing an event like this definitely takes some hard work!  You have to plan where you're going to have it, check to see if a permit is required from the city, register your event on the Big Latch On site, know/follow the rules, get all their paperwork filled out, put together goody bags, seek sponsors (I found several amazing businesses that donated the BEST door prizes),  and share and share and share everywhere!
It was so rewarding though.  I discovered new resources within the community, located some breastfeeding-friendly businesses, fostered my relationship with fellow organizers and met new like-minded people!  I'd encourage anyone to go ahead and plan on creating a Big Latch On event in their area!
Here are a few pictures of the event right before the "latch on."  Our photographer, Abundance Art, Photography and Henna will be sharing more soon!

I've been looking at the Big Latch On's Facebook page all afternoon, anxiously awaiting the results! So far the totals are just under the all-time record, I'm so hopeful that we beat it!
Have you participated in the Big Latch On or anything similar?

Welcome to the Back To School Giveaway and Blog Hop!

Have you started your back to school shopping yet?  Here's a chance to get some extra help on your shopping this year!  We have a huge Grand Prize giveaway and some truly awesome blog hop giveaways so there's going to be many winners! 

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Friday, July 31, 2015
Tomorrow marks the beginning of World Breastfeeding Week!  There are many events happening this week to promote breastfeeding as well as to help celebrate all that we've accomplished on our breastfeeding journeys.  
Breastmilk is nature's perfect source of nutrition for children.  The poster below really gives a thorough look into what makes breastmilk so powerful! There is nothing else that comes close.  I love this poster (click here for zoom-in view) created in 2007 from students of Douglas College- by Cecily Heslett, Sherri Hedberg and Haley Rumble.
I've had trouble being able to give my youngest breastmilk because of her oral issues, she was unable to transfer milk correctly and by the time she was a month old, she was diagnosed with failure to thrive.  The lactation consultant told me at that point, "Just feed the baby."
Most people probably just assume that means it's formula time.  That's usually the go-to answer when breastfeeding doesn't work out.  However, I started exclusively pumping in hopes that I'd be able to keep up with my baby's needs, but my body would not fully cooperate.  I was always short no matter how many hours a day I spent hooked up to the pump.  I wanted to give her the best, and I couldn't by myself.  But I knew someone out there would help us get to our goals, so I started looking for a donor.
Milk sharing has been around for centuries. Wet-nursing was the norm prior to the invention of infant formula.  Having a milk donor made sense to me, I thought, "If we can drink milk from more than one cow, why not more than one human?"
This article from the International Milk Genomics Consortium titled Human Milk Sharing: Evolutionary Insights and Modern Risks highlights the cultural history of milk sharing. You can also read what Wikipedia has on wet-nursing HERE.
These days, instead of seeing wet-nursing, mothers that have an abundant milk supply have been pumping and donating their excess milk to babies in need.  Many have donated to milk banks.
"Donor milk banking is defined as the collection, screening, processing, and distribution of human milk from volunteer breastfeeding mothers." from Becoming a Donor to a Human Milk Bank by Lois D. W. Arnold, MPH, IBCLC- LLL
When you take away direct nursing, more contaminants are allowed into the equation.  Ensuring that your child is receiving safe milk is a high priority.  The Human Milk Banking Association of North America has protocols developed by the FDA and CDC on how to screen milk donors, collect, process and distribute breastmilk.  This breastmilk is usually used for NICU babies and fragile or ill children that have obtained a prescription from their physician.  There are currently 16 milk banks in the United States and 3 in Canada.
If your child is ineligible for a prescription for donor milk from a milk bank, or you cannot afford it, the next best choice is personal donations through a more informal milk sharing arrangement.  Human Milk 4 Human Babies and Eats on Feets are  two volunteer networks that promote the nourishment of children all around the world with human milk.
"HM4HB is a volunteer-only network of community pages that does not receive any kind of funding or financial support. Our main focus is to facilitate breastmilk sharing and the network’s community pages are a strictly noncommercial environment. We do not support the sale of human milk... We are a community-oriented network and we expect members to inform themselves–and to encourage others to inform themselves–about risks, benefits, and alternatives."
Eats on Feets has set up some principles to ensure safe breastmilk sharing.
These sites have local chapters all across the globe and envision that someday every single child will thrive on breastmilk.
My story is pretty simple.  I reached out on Facebook to the local breastfeeding support group and on both the HM4HB & Eats On Feets sites local chapter pages.  I asked questions about how old their babies were, how they stored their milk, any medications they took, if they drank or smoked and if they had any type of disease.  Working with my instincts, I was able to find and meet two donors and went to pick up 280 ounces of pure liquid gold!  Having this milk meant so much to me... and I became good friends with our donors!
I asked others to share their experiences with milk sharing and I'm so happy to give their voices a place to be heard.  I hope that you find their stories inspirational, because I do!
Melanie K.:  "I actually learned about milk sharing through a local support group. There were other mamas whom have had to turn to others and Jaime (our donor) was a friend and former coworker of mine that for medical reasons has to pump all her babies milk and is an overproducer. Since she knew my concerns about not producing enough she had told me if I needed help that she would gladly help us! In the hospital my milk wasnt coming in quick enough and the twins were born at 38 weeks (too old to be offered donor milk through the hospital) so we faced them pushing formula and absolutely said no. I made the call to Jamie and in less then an hour her family was at the hosptial with milk for us! She gave us milk three more times and it got us through til my milk fully came in! Our experience was a beautiful one.... I literally get tears every time I think of what she did for my babies without any hesitation!"
Jaime B.: "I heard about milk donation when my son was born in January of this year. I was induced at 37 weeks because my son had a kidney condition called severe bilateral hydronephrosis and his worsening kidney issues forced his birth. Due to his kidney issues, he cannot have formula, so after his birth while he was in the NICU, he received donated breastmilk through the Mother's Milk Bank of Iowa. Also because of my son's kidney issues, I could not feed him directly from the breast. We have had to keep very accurate records of how much he eats each day, and so I became an exclusive pumper. Pumping made it possible for me to establish an excellent milk supply, and I have been an oversupplier since shortly after his birth. Milk sharing with other mothers wasn't anything I considered until a good friend, who was due with twins, made a Facebook post saying that the colostrum she had been collecting in the weeks prior to her babies delivery had been left out of the freezer by accident and thawed leaving her with nothing for when her babies were going to be born. I made a post saying should she need any milk in the early weeks to just let me know because I had plenty. A few weeks later she gave birth, and on the evening of her twins birth she contacted me asking for a big favor. She needed milk for her boys, and I promptly delivered to her 30 ounces of my son's early milk. She again asked for more milk on her twins 3rd day of life, and I shared 30 ounces more with her. On their 5th day of life, she asked again, and I shared 30 more ounces. It was the most wonderful feeling to know her boys were receiving breast milk exclusively and I was a huge reason for that! It was amazing to be giving other babies the best start in life. I have since shared 700 ounces with 4 other babies. My milk has nurtured and supported 6 babies and their mothers. It has lessened the stress and anxiety and worry of these mothers as they struggle with their own supply issues, and their desire to feed their babies breast milk. My husband has been a huge support in my milk sharing journey. It is a decision we make together. I posted on Human Milk for Human Babies, and together my husband and I decided on with who we wanted to share or son's milk. He fully supports me. I've been surprised by the response I've gotten from friends and family. They have either been super supportive or have made no comment on the subject." 
Kristi L.:  "I first learned about donor milk from a Facebook group that I joined, IGT and Low Supply. Many of the mothers in the group supplement with donor milk. They were also a great source of information regarding where to find donor donor milk. All of my donors have volunteered information regarding their health, diet and medication use. If a donor didn't volunteer I would ask basic information about their lifestyle and specifically any medications they have taken. Using donor milk requires trust. In most cases I have met their babies and this is the milk they are feeding them. It's about moms helping other moms. I first decided to seek out donor milk when he was a month old. I had been supplementing with formula but he was going to be having a major surgery at 6 weeks and I wanted all of the antibodies and goodness from breastmilk in his system that I could possibly give him. He did so well on donor milk and had much fewer gastrointestinal issues that I decided to continue using donor milk. It gave me peace of mind, too. It's a terrible feeling to nurse and pump around the clock, to try every supplement, to eat oatmeal every meal and drink water by the gallon and still not produce enough milk to feed your baby. Donor milk relieved some of that guilt and pressure and helped me relax and enjoy our nursing relationship. That reduction in stress actually increased my milk supply. Most of my friends and family were very supportive. I had a few question the safety or voice that they didn't understand why I just didn't feed him formula. We've been using donor milk for over 5 months and everyone just accepts it as our normal now. Our experience with donor milk has been entirely positive. I've met so many wonderful moms through donor milk. I am amazed over and over again at the compassion and generosity of mothers willing to help another mom feed their baby. I think it such a wonderful example of how moms should treat each other - it's the opposite of the mommy wars! Also, one of our donors has a heartbreaking/touching story. Her son was a micro-preemie. She pumped thousands of ounces during his 6 months in the NICU. Her milk was high lipase and once he was feeding by mouth he wouldn't drink it. She teared up the first time we got milk from her because another baby (and a baby with health issues) could use her milk, it wouldn't go to waste. At the time teddy had a feeding tube so it didn't matter it was high lipase - and he ended up drinking it fine, too. We still have one more donation to pick up from her!"
Kristi B.:  "After my 2nd child, my babysitter knew I was struggling with pumping enough to feed my girl, so she mentioned there was another daycare mom who had some extra frozen milk and so she offered to donate. I thought it was strange at first, but I knew the lady really well and knew she was very healthy, was always conscience of what she was putting into her body, so I knew I could trust her. She helped me out for about 2 months and then we had to switch to formula. After I had my 3rd child, I was struggling with pumping again once I went back to work and an old friend from back home suggested a local breastfeeding group on FB, for a place to ask questions, get support. I noticed moms were offering some extra milk they had and others request for milk to be donated to them…so I spoke with my fiancĂ© about it and he was all for us finding donors! I put a little “ad” out into the group and found some donors right away. A few of them pumped exclusively for me for a few months until their baby was weaned and some were just random one time donors. People on this FB group also suggested the Human Milk for Human Babies of Iowa site too, which is a place I also found some donors. The reason I sought donor milk is because I wanted to give my babies the “best of the best” for their first year of life. I felt it was a huge health benefit to get the antibodies needed to fight off infections, viruses, etc. I noticed with my first 2, as soon as they were weaned off of breastmilk, they both started to get sick with colds. Could have been coincidence but they were always so healthy when on breastmilk. A lot of donors were moms on the site I frequently visited and had conversations about various topics with. I screened the donors by asking them if they were on any medications while pumping, if they smoked/drank alcohol, etc. None of my babies had any food allergies so that was never a concern. It’s a risk you take, but I would think that most mothers who breastfed their children and stored the oversupply of milk, were not alcoholics and drug users so I did put a lot of trust into these mamas. My family thought what I was doing was a little strange at first and asked “how do you know that person?” …but after a while they started sharing my posts on looking for donor milk, or would pick it up for me if it was in their area, and became accustomed to the idea. A lot of other friends would say “good for you!” because it IS a lot of work to make sure you have enough to get through and finding new donors in between. My experience has been phenomenal. I’m SO thankful for the moms that have donated. I have had about 3 dozen different donors in the last 2 years, for my 2 youngest babies. My youngest is almost 5 months and is still EBF even though my supply slowed down and tapered off at month 3. (My breasts do not respond to the pump well) and my 19 month old girl has been on regular milk since 13 months but she is such a healthy and happy girl til this day. All of my kiddos are, so incredibly thankful. There was a one week period while I was on vacation last summer and ran out of frozen milk. I bought the organic formula and she tolerated it…but her gut did not. She would get bound up and have a hard time pooping, which made her miserable during that week. Once back on the breastmilk, she was great again. She did have a few ear infections around 6 months and 9 months old, but other than that, my kids were never sick while on breastmilk. If they were, it was something minor like a cough or cold. It was wonderful for their immune system. Breastmilk has so many benefits!"
Bethany S.:  "I'm not sure how I heard about milk sharing honestly. I think it was probably at a bfusa meeting or on the local breastfeeding support Facebook page maybe. I think it was suggested to me because I ended up with a pretty big over supply after dealing with a nipple shield, milk blisters and a nasty bout of mastitis. I was also a stay at home mom at the time and didnt have a need for pumped milk. My family asked a lot of questions and my mom liked to bring up how much I donated and how many babies I helped. That always made me feel pretty awesome! I'd do it again in a heartbeat! If I had enough supply left to pump I'd still be pumping and donating but after 3 years, Chase is slowly starting to be close to done nursing. I met a lot of awesome people through milk sharing and it feels so good knowing you helped nourish someone elses baby! Especially watching them grow and hit milestones on Facebook... it's incredible. There's really no other way to describe it! I've donated probably a good thousand ounces, if not more to one family. I tried keeping count but there was just so much milk! We've both driven up to an hour and a half for milk drops. It's so awesome cause my son is only a few weeks younger than her son and we gave them the term Milk Bros lol! For their first birthdays I made shirts that say 'Milk Bros Est. 2012' with a boob leaking milk! There was also a mom I found in the local breastfeeding group, through her friend. She had surgery and couldnt nurse on the meds. I got my milk and another local moms milk together for the friend to pick up and take to the University of Iowa and got an email thanking me a few days later. The week of Thanksgiving rolled around and I got a card in the mail from the parents of the baby the milk went to of them thanking me in great detail. I still have it on my bulletin board. I'm tearing up writing this even. Its such an amazing feeling being able to help moms and babies in need. Milk is so hard to get through the milk banks and I'm sooooo glad i was able to donate to all the moms and babies that I did."
Kate O.:  "I started donating 2 years ago when I was exclusively pumping for my little girl. I made extra and knew it would be helpful for mom's in need. With my second daughter being breastfed, I only pump at work and before bed so had extra to share. I heard about milk sharing through another group and hadn't really thought about it much, but my milk doesn't qualify for hospital donation because I take a low dose anti- depressant so I didn't want it to go to waste! I have not gotten a bad reaction from anyone and have encouraged my friends/family to donate as well. Those who I have donated to have always been appreciative. I don't ask for replacement bags, but a few moms have written notes of appreciation and those mean the most to me. I really saw the benefit from sharing what I had with other moms who might not be as lucky as I have been. I was not able to breast feed my first child so I always felt like I wish someone had offered milk sharing to me as an option."
Lindsey:  "I heard about milk sharing online. My family was pretty supportive of me donating. I had a couple friends that were a little taken back by the fact that I was giving somebody else my milk for their baby. My experience was pretty great! I was able to help 4 babies, one being a preemie with a heart defect and many other medical problems. The biggest benefit I felt was knowing I was helping another mother from having to give her baby formula. For some mothers breastfeeding is a dream they want to be able to fulfill and for one reason or another can't. I would do it over and over again if I was able to!"
Rachel W.:  "My daughter was born in 2011 and my milk never came in. I went and saw a breast specialist and he told me that because of the size of my chest more then likely my ducts were too damaged to produce milk for my little one. I looked into donor milk but hubby didn't trust anyone enough to receive milk so I didn't look much into it. Now with our second child born Feb. 2015 I have an over supply (Go figure right!?)! I started looking into companies to donate and found a family on Human Milk 4 Human Babies page in need within a 5 minute driving distance from me! I wanted to get involved with a family that didn't have to pay anything for my milk except maybe an exchange of baggies for me to fill. It's heart breaking some of these companies charging families in need from $100-300+ per ounce off of my donated milk and that just didn't sit right with me. I've gotten reactions from people saying how disgusting I am and nasty looks to being treated like I'm saving a baby from death. I don't share very often over Facebook except when I hit a milestone- soon to hit 2,000 oz donated!!! Negative or positive my husband's view and little ones chunkiness is all that matters to me and keeps me going, but believe me every 4 am pump i'm having a fight inside my head my eyes begging and body begging for sleep but my boobs begging to empty and believe me the struggle is real! I've donated to a total of 3 families so far, two NICU families and one full term baby. One baby I donated very shortly to and they decided to go dairy free and well living in the dairy state I couldn't see myself able to do that but they had another donor so I stepped back away from that family. Another family had a little girl and mom's supply wasn't coming in... after a couple months of donating I felt I needed a deeper connection with a donor family so back to online to try and find someone I connected with. Even though the family was great it turned into almost feeling like a drug deal. I had my goodies in a bag and exchanged it for empty bags with a thanks and a drive away. ANYWAYS! Onto my awesome donor recipient family! I've been donating to them for 3 months now and things have been great. I met them and ended up talking to them for 3 hours just sharing stories of our children, to where we grew up, to our beliefs. They also are a reason why I keep going. Their little one was very under weight and not growing and the mom decided not to breastfeed. They are very supportive, they replace my bags, bring me ice cream, banana bread, and supportive notes! Their gratitude for what i'm doing just shines through and gives me that extra push when I need it to keep doing what I'm doing. Overall my experience has been hard being a donor but it's the little things that add up to help make this tough journey to keep on going. I don't think people realize the amount of time that is put into pumping. It's a full time job I pump about 10 times a day for 30-45 min so 8 hrs a day or so then I have to wash all the parts and label bags have a fight with my freezer to find room to put more bags and then take care of my own family and their needs. I've also had to choose between working out and dropping weight or feeding my child and another. Every time I work out I immediately drop ounces. I've linked my milk production to calorie intake so when I do exercise I just have to make sure to eat a high calorie meal to make up for it. It sucks that I have had to make that decision but I wouldn't change it for the world. If more women did what so many of us donors are doing then there would be no need for formula... But our world isn't as trusting as it once was. I also have to make sure as a donor that i'm respecting the parents and not taking medications, and drinking, or being around smokers, and having a healthy diet. The biggest benefits are I didn't have to buy a second freezer, i'm not trying to make my baby drink everything I make and waste what's not being drank, you meet some of the most amazing women from support groups to your donor recipient families, I can have that extra pancake or cookie because i'll just pump out the calories later lol!, and lastly just seeing little ones grow. Seeing the little pudge of a double chin or a chunky thigh appear is truly enough to keep going."
Have you donated breastmilk or have you used donor milk?  Tell me about your experience in the comments!

Monday, July 27, 2015
I was nominated by All Out Blog  for the One Lovely Blog Award and I am very happy to accept and want to share my appreciation that my blog was recognized! Thank you so much for your encouragement Cassie!
What is the One Lovely Blog Award? 
 The One Lovely Blog Award is an award that is passed from one blogger to another and is a way of discovering new bloggers as well as getting to know them a bit better.  I tried to find the origin on how this started or any real history but didn't come up with much... so if you know more about it, please tell me LOL!
 What are the One Lovely Blog Award rules? 
•  Thank the person who has nominated you and provide a link to his/her blog.
 •  List the rules.
 •  Include 7 facts about yourself. 
 •  Nominate 15 other bloggers and let them know that they have been nominated. 
 •  Display the award logo and follow the blogger who nominated you.
Here are seven random facts about me and my family!  
1.  My favorite prepared foods are sushi and dark chocolate.
2.  My first tattoo is currently being designed by me & will be a tribute to my family.
3.  I've only been in Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Missouri.
4.  My family loves going to the drive-in movie theater.
5.  My 12 year old son loves Pokemon and Minecraft and wants to be a game designer.
6.  I haven't been in an airplane and never plan to.
7.  I'm hoping to become an IBCLC in the next 2 years.

I have a ton of blogs that I love reading so it's very hard to just pick 15 of them!  I am picking the following because I love their content, they write about things important to them and some have taken time out of their busy schedules to help me with blogging questions, promotions, or just by being kind and offering their friendship.  I admire these bloggers and I think you might too!
and for fun-

Wednesday, July 22, 2015
There's a bunch of benefits that come with using cloth diapers... Not only do you save a lot of money with cloth, but you also contribute to less waste and cloth diapering is actually much better for baby's skin too!
There are many different kinds of cloth diapers available, both commercially and handmade.  Hybrid fitteds, AI2's and pockets are probably my most favorite styles.  I love hybrid fitteds because there is no PUL (polyurethane laminate) sandwiched between the layers which makes these diapers completely breathable, yet highly absorbent and absolutely cushy, much more comfortable on the bum!  I am happy to share a review with you today of the hybrid fitted cloth diaper by Ham Cheeks and help you get more acquainted with this WAHM!

Ham Cheeks is run by Lana Nesbitt in Carrollton, Georgia.  She became motivated to start a business so she could share her love of cloth diapers.  Ham Cheeks opened just a few months ago and is a place you can find cloth diapers- pockets, AI2's and hybrid fitteds, cloth trainers, wipes, cloth pads, children's clothing, maxaloones, bibs, crib shoes, blankets, headbands, totebags, nursing pads as well as women's tops and undies.  Lana's favorite thing about having her own business is being able to make someone their dream diaper/outfit and says, "If there is something someone wants and has never seen before that motivates me to make that happen for them."
Lana has three children and says her family is what inspires her to do her best in everything she does.  Her son loves to brag to everyone about what his mama does and his pride really inspires her even more!
I received a one-size hybrid fitted in exchange for a thorough, honest review.  
This jellyfish print is so vivid and colorful, with a smooth, almost silky feeling outer fabric, which is a polyester swim knit.  There are color coordinating resin snaps across the front of the diaper and along the wings with two snaps on the back side of the diaper also.
In between the cute jellyfish print and inside is a layer of windpro- a thick fleece fabric that is highly breathable and water repellent. The inside of the diaper is lined with a super soft, velvety cotton velour, as well as the top layer of the snap in petal style soaker.  There are 3 layers of super heavy bamboo fleece under the velour layer on the soaker, then there is an attached bottom soaker which is another 2 layers of super heavy bamboo fleece with 1 layer of heavy hemp fleece.  On the back side of the soaker, there is a lining matching the outside of the diaper.  This soaker conveniently snaps in, keeping it from shifting around.

Each wing has 3 snaps, with 2 crossover snaps. This diaper should be able to fit a child between 8-35 pounds, just use the 10 snap fold down rise and crossover snaps for the smallest size (as shown in photo below).
Ham Cheeks diapers come prepped and ready to go on the bum!  My daughter is 22 months old and 30 lbs, and this diaper fits her wonderfully. I honestly think it's quite trim.  I would say it could get us throughout her entire second year, easily.  There are 12 front snaps, as you can see it is on the 5th snap. It's very quick to get it on and Karebear doesn't hold still very long!
The leg elastic is snug, no gaping, keeping everything in.  The first time Karebear wore this diaper for 3 and 1/2 hours without any dampness leaking through.  She was quite comfortable and dry!
To wash, you can either keep the soaker snapped in or unsnap it, then toss in with your other diapers.  I wash my diapers with a cold rinse, hot wash and cold rinse.  You can hang to dry or tumble dry on medium heat.  We've had this diaper already soiled, washed and dried 3 times and it still looks brand new!  It is obviously made with high quality materials.
Ham Cheeks is CPSIA compliant- all products have been tested for consumer product safety requirements and are certified.
Ham Cheeks is wonderful to work with!  I admire all her products!  I have high expectations with cloth diapers, and I absolutely love this diaper.  I'd recommend Ham Cheeks to anyone!
What is my favorite thing about this diaper?  With hybrids, baby gets more air on their bottom than they would with a diaper containing PUL.  
Is there anything I'd change about this product?  I have to say that I thought the extra polyester layer under the hemp layer in the soaker didn't seem to make much sense to me other than decoration.  I'd prefer to omit that layer.  This doesn't change how well the diaper performs, however.
I give Ham Cheeks Hybrids a 9.5/10!
You can connect with Ham Cheeks on Instagram and hop on over to Ham Cheek's Facebook page and tell them THANK YOU for letting me host a giveaway!
Yep, that's right!  One lucky person is going to win $25 to spend on whatever they choose of Ham Cheeks products!
To enter, just fill out the giveaway form below. Must be 18 years of age or older. Void where prohibited. Giveaway will run from 7/22/15-8/5/15. Winner will be announced on this post as well as emailed. You will have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be drawn. Open to US only. GOOD LUCK!!! 
Latched On Mom and other participating bloggers did not receive compensation to promote this giveaway, however Latched On Mom was given a free product in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own, written by me.  Please see my full disclosure for more information. This giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed or associated with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or any other social media. Prize fulfillment is the sponsor's responsibilty. If you have any questions about this giveaway, they may be directed to latchedonmom(at)gmail(dot)com.
Tuesday, July 14, 2015
Have you heard about Gerber's new all in one (AIO) clothdiaper? 
You can read Mama Banana's Adventures full Gerber AIO review HERE
Here's an opportunity to win one of TWENTY, yes 20 diapers!  Use the form below to enter and good luck!

Gerber All-In-One Diaper Features Include;
  • Available in 3-sizes
    • Small 8-18 lbs
    • Medium 16-28 lbs
    • Large 23-37 lbs
  • Hook and Loop closure
  • Stay put tabs to hold hook fabric when not on baby
  • Open pocket under all-in-one insert for customizing absorbency
  • Soft and trim waterproof PUL outer layer
  • One-size booster, same size comes with all 65% polyester/35% rayon
  • 100% cotton inner fabric (looks unbleached)
  • Trans-Dry technology woven into lining (draws moisture into fabric)
    • 65% polyester/35% rayon
  • Blow out elastic band at top front and back of diaper (seen below)
  • Double gussets  
  • 4 Colors; Orange, Sage, Pink and Royal Blue
You can also find Gerber diapers on Amazon.

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     Mama Banana's Adventures and participating bloggers were not compensated to run this giveaway and are not responsible for prize fulfillment. Winners will be contacted via email provided and have 48 hours to respond. If no response is given a new winner will be selected. So please check your e-mail, it will not be given out to the sponsor or anyone else. Questions about the review or giveaway should be directed to

Saturday, July 11, 2015
Wearing your child is a great way to provide them with comfort and reassurance.  Babywearing is essentially an extension of the womb and children that are worn are generally calmer. The motion and sound of your heartbeat is relaxing to them, and parents often find it easier to care for their child because they're able to pick up early cues, creating a stronger bond. When you wear your baby, you can keep your hands free to get things done, in or out of the house, without big gear to cart around everywhere. Babywearing also aids the child in their physical development, children that are worn are more likely to have better balance and an earlier sense of independence.
I remember the first time I tried on a carrier. It was a soft-structured carrier (SSC) and my middle child was 6 months old.  I fell in love with babywearing.  I love all the different types of carriers, but SSC's are a preference because they buckle on quickly, ready to wear.  It doesn't take much to figure them out, they're safe for both baby and the wearer with this helpful acronym (T.I.C.K.S.):
T- Tight- carrier isn't too loose, keeping baby close
I-  In view- you can always see your baby's face
C-  Close enough to kiss- you should be able to easily kiss their forehead
K-  Keep chin off of their chest- airway kept open and clear
S-  Supported back- both you and child should feel comfortable, body is ergonomic
Check out more tips on Babywearing International HERE.
While I was browsing SSC's online, I came across the most charming product, called a Cozy Baby Carrier on Etsy.  The 2015 collection all appear bright, cheerful and honestly unlike anything I'd seen before.  I was in awe of the additional features, like an air mesh panel to keep baby cool, detachable storage pouch on the waist belt as well as a detachable, adjustable hood.  
I am happy to help introduce you to Nap Bag by Bagy and the WAHM (work at home mom) behind it all!

Olga Boieru is the creator/designer of By Bagy.  She resides in Moldova, Eastern Europe.  From her younger years, she remembers fashioning outfits for her dolls.  This passion for sewing continued as she grew older, and Olga even wore her own hand-made clothes to high school.  After she had her first daughter, she used a German wrap but was inspired to make a more comfortable and stylish ergonomic carrier.  All her friends loved what she made and asked her to make them one too!  Then her friend's friends were inquiring about it and so on... and that's how Olga created her first collection.  She had so many orders piling up, that she quit her job as a graphic designer and her hobby of making carriers became a career.  
Her favorite thing about having her own business is the pure joy and appreciation people have shown from getting to use her products.  "Once, I had an order from a woman with 3 kids who took care of her children all by herself without any car or husband, and while living in the suburb of a city. When we met she was so tired and sad. This was her first experience with a carrier. Right after she put on a carrier with her baby, her face changed completely! She started to cry of happiness and I couldn't resist too. Meeting new people, seeing them so thankful, and making their lives happier and more beautiful is my favorite part of my business!"
Olga loves working with fabrics and colors and says immediately she has inspiration and can envision the whole finished product.  She makes a variety of fashionable items, including breastfeeding/nursing clothing, backpacks, wrap sling baby carriers and ergo baby carriers.  She makes 1-2 collections per year, and has fun creating new unique ideas!
Olga won first place in the competition for the most stylish carrier between the sling producers of Post Soviet Union countries for her ergo carrier.  People all across the globe-  USA, Russia, Italy, India, Malaysia, Israel, and many other countries are engaged in the stylish designs of Nap Bag by Bagy.
I received the Street Life print from the 2014 collection in exchange for a thorough, honest review.
I could tell this was something special when I opened the package and saw it.. you can tell this is a carrier made with pride!  The carrier has a soft, silky outer fabric with vivid colors and an engaging design.  It is lightweight but with the full support you'd expect from a SSC. There's something about it that makes it stand out.  I just love it!  My hubby took a pic of the first time I wore it with Karebear!
On the 4th of July this year, we went down to see the fireworks in Cedar Rapids.  This carrier definitely had some sleepy dust because Karebear slept through almost the entire thing!
The hood of this carrier has metal snaps to easily remove it.  It also has an adjustable drawstring edge to curve over your child's head and elastic straps buckling it to the shoulder straps, offering even more protection.  

Here is what it looks like without the hood.
The panel unzips and rolls down with a metal snap on a strip of fabric to keep it in place.  This is such an asset to babywearing, as many of us know too well how sweaty our baby's backs (and ours) get in the hot summer months!
 The waist belt is wide and lightly padded to prevent digging in which will let you wear baby for longer periods of time.  There is a storage pouch that slides with two fabric straps and snaps on.  This pouch is perfect to put the hood in, a pair of sunglasses, your phone, id, some cash, keys or whatever!  It's the perfect size for the basics!
The waist buckle is sturdy, with an elastic hoop to keep it secure.

The Nap Bag by Bagy fits children from 3-4 months up to 44 pounds.  It is made of high quality, natural cotton materials with straps that can take pressure up to 66 pounds.  The stitching is doubled and heavy duty.The size range for wearers specifies S-XL.  However, I am a size 20/22 plus-sized mama and had no issues with fit on this carrier even with a 30 pound 22 month old ambitious toddler. By Bagy will make alterations, so every body type can have optimal comfort. Usually this cost is very minimal.  She wants everyone to know that she is happy to make a custom fit for you!  You can wear this carrier in a front, back or hip carry position. 
The front carry is super simple and snugly!  It's easy to unzip and roll the fabric panel to get the benefit of the air flow mesh.
Wearing on the back is comfortable also.  I will admit the chest clip felt a bit too high for me and I was unable to lower it any further.
My friend Leslie, the head admin at BabyWearers of Cedar Rapids gave it a try to see if it was too high on her as well, and it was.  She wears a size 8.  She suggested using a scarf to close it if I felt I needed to have something across. 
The other day, I took the kids to go visit one of my BFF's Liz and her awesome kiddos.  Liz has a fancy camera and her daughter who wears an XS, 0-1 size is a great model for another try at seeing how the clip settles on the sternum.  It absolutely seemed to be placed perfectly on her frame.
At the end of each strap, there are elastic loops.  You roll the ends up and the loop goes over and holds it in place to tuck away excess length.
All the snaps, straps and buckles are durable materials, and I decided I'd do a few side by side pics next to my Mystic Purple Ergobaby Original.  The waists buckles are in the same area.  The width is about the same, also.  The only difference is the amount of padding- the ergo is more plump.
Here's a closer look at the buckles and straps of an Ergobaby Original compared to a Nap Bag by Bagy.  Nap Bag by Bagy definitely is slightly smaller in scale.
The biggest difference between these two carriers is the shoulder strap length.  The Ergobaby shoulder strap length exceeds the length of the shoulder straps on a Nap Bag by Bagy by 30 centimeters.
I found the Nap Bag by Bagy to be really comfortable, no problem to wear for multiple hours at a time.  I also think the price for this carrier is in a perfectly affordable range.  I received many compliments about how well it looked!
Nap Bag by Bagy comes with a bag to compactly roll up the carrier for portability or when not in use.  You are ok to machine wash in cold water, up to 105 degrees Fahrenheit, but you can also conveniently spot cleanse the carrier with a damp rag.
What is my favorite thing about the Nap Bag by Bagy?
The exclusive designs and all the additional features really give this carrier it's character.  I enjoyed seeing Karebear being less sweaty and I even felt quite cooler wearing it.
Is there anything I'd change about this product?
I'd love to see the strap length increase to fit better across the sternum.
I give the Cozy Baby Carrier- Nap Bag by Bagy a 9/10!

Please take a moment to LIKE By Bagy on Facebook and FOLLOW on Instagram!
By Bagy is letting me host a really amazing giveaway!  
One person will win a Cozy Baby Carrier Nap Bag that's currently in stock on Etsy, valued up to $105 USD!  This giveaway is open internationally!
Michigan Savings and More is co-hosting this giveaway!
All you have to do to enter is fill out the giveaway form below. Must be 18 years of age or older. Void where prohibited. Giveaway will run from 7/12/15-7/27/15. Winner will be announced on this post as well as emailed. You will have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be drawn. Open Internationally. GOOD LUCK!!!
Latched On Mom and other participating bloggers did not receive compensation to promote this giveaway, however Latched On Mom was given a free product in exchange for a review. Please see my full disclosure for more information.   This giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed or associated with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or any other social media. Prize fulfillment is the sponsor's responsibilty. If you have any questions about this giveaway, they may be directed to latchedonmom(at)gmail(dot)com.

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